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Jul 28, 2009 07:42 AM

Florence in August?

Hello fellow Italophiles,

I have been traveling to Italy 1-2X per year for the past several years. While Florence is always a stop, I have never been there in August.

I know that August is vacation time for Italians, and I plan on hitting the beach towns like Viareggio where there will be plenty to do.

To that end, I'd love any suggestions you might offer for restaurants that you know will be open in August that are recommended, in Florence specifically, but even in Viareggio/Portofino/Cinque Terre...

Cafes/bars/pizzerias/trattorias...all suggestions for where to eat/drink in August are welcomed!

Grazie mille in advance!

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  1. response moved, thanks Zerlina

    1 Reply
    1. re: jen kalb

      Jen, I think your reply was intended for another poster in another thread...

    2. Everything will be open in Viareggio, Cinque Terre and Portofino. It's when they do their biggest business.

      Florence is a whole other story. Find the telephone numbers of restaurants you're thinking of going to and call before you head out.

      1. I just walked past la Buca d'Orafo and they are closing tomorrow, August 1st, and reopening the 24th. I'm hoping to get in tonight!

        1. We just made a reservation at Osteria de' Benci for August 22 so they're open.

          16 Replies
          1. re: elynchking

            We ate at Osteria Benci this evening. It was wonderful. At first we thought that it was closed since we walked by at about 6:50 and there was nary a sign of life. Shortly thereafter, we saw someone lift the gate and they said that they would open for business at 7:30. When we arrived shortly thereafter, there were a few tables taken, but we had no trouble being seated. By 9PM it was a different story. The meal was really delicious. We both began with the crostini -- my son with the pomodoro and I with the gorgonzola/anchovy, which was fabulous. I had the drunken spaghetti, which was delicious and unique, and he had the pasta with cherry tomatoes and parmesan, which was also fabulous. The other benefit, is that it is around the corner for the gelateria dei neri, which I think is the best in Firenze. A wonderful evening!

            1. re: roxlet

              great report! how was the drunken spaghetti made?

              1. re: jen kalb

                Spaghetti Al Ubricone (Drunken Spaghetti) is quite simple to make - the recipe comes from the Osteria de Benci as I asked them for it after a visit. Take a large cup of red wine, add garlic and some chili to taste,

                Reduce by a half (this serves about 2) and add the cooked spagetti (it also works quite well with linguine, but use a good dry pasta like de Cecco or Barilla) and fold it into the sauce. Toss in the wine mix, and allow to heat through (the pasta should go an amazing purple colour). Top with flat leaf parsley and freshly grated parmesan. Enjoy......(I have also slightly tweaked it and added anchovies as I reduce the red wine)

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Not apparently to their recipe - it is a reduction. The waiter asked the manager who asked the cook for the recipe for me 2 years ago. The colour is amazing and always causes a lot of eyebrows to be raised.

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        That's interesting when they gave me the recipe they didn't tell me to add the water, so that's what I have been doing and it works. I didn't realise it was on the web, if I like a recipe I ask the restaurant!

                  2. re: LotsC

                    I noticed that my Spaghetti Al Ubricone didn't come with cheese, and given the presence of pepperoncini, I naturally assumed that cheese wouldn't be called for. Interesting that they topped yours with parmesan -- or is that your tweaking?

                    1. re: roxlet

                      You don't have to put cheese, as the dish has a lot of taste, but you sure can - never heard of or observed the rule you mention about peperoncino = no cheese; where do you have that from? Also, I think the recipe from Gina de Palma which jen kalb has posted would be more the way to go (cooking the spaghetti itself in wine). I got to know Gina when she still lived here in Rome, and though a (award-winning) pastry chef, I trust her savory skills (and her direct contact with the kitchen) a lot, too.

                      1. re: vinoroma

                        I'm not sure where that rule came from, but I'm sure I didn't make it up -- I love cheese on pasta! Maybe it is because pepperoncini are frequently paired with fish as in puttanesca? And something like oglio olio, with pepperoncini I would never put cheese on. I think one of the exceptions, as I was taught, is matriciana which properly has cheese. I don't know, but we've never combined them in my family and we're Italian!

                        1. re: roxlet

                          It is the old question of tradition versus taste. I love aglio e olio and puttanesca and would probably have parmesan on both, but wouldn't on vongole or anything else fishy, quite agree with matriciana rule

                      2. re: roxlet

                        In England people are rather fond of their parmesan with pasta! Although have managed to wean friends from asking for parmesan with Pasta al Vongole. I think everybody tweaks recipes and I think that is important for the recipe to be remembered! I remember the recipe as it was given to me, and that is what I popped on the site when Jen Kalb asked for it.

                  3. re: roxlet

                    Thanks for the report - can't wait to get there. I think it will be perfect for us!

                    1. re: elynchking

                      In addition to the pastas at Osteria de Benci try the roast chicken - utter simplicity but bags of flavour. My fave meal there has to be Spaghetti Al Ubricone followed by the roast chicken and potatoes with a tomato salad with anchovies. The flavours are amazing.....then a good gelati, perfetto...

                      1. re: elynchking

                        But don't forget to go around the corner to the Gelateria dei Neri! And although we didn't have the chicken, we regretted it as the aromas wafted in our direction. It smelled so good. I also noticed that many people seemed to be ordering the bistecca, which looked delicious as we ate it with our eyes. I really liked this place in lieu of Il Buca d'Orafo, which closed on the 1st.

                        1. re: roxlet

                          My boyfriend had the tagliata when we went which was lovely. Perfectly cooked...Gelateria dei Nero is fab...

                  4. While at the shore you should spend some time up in the mountains - head up toward what looks like snow - it is actually marble quarries - most are open air, one is in a man made cave - you can tour them. After doing that keep heading uphill till you can go no further - this is Colonatta - home of Lardo - any of the restaurants in this tiny town will serve you a good mixed plate - it is spectacular and a great side trip. Was just there 3 weeks ago and the cave tour is a nice cool break from what will surely be very warm days .

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ejm

                      Thank you all for your replies! I will print this thread and keep it handy. I plan on day-tripping to Lucca (haven't been there in years) and either Viareggio or Forte dei Marmi for a beach day. Possibly even Cinque Terre.